December 16, 2015 | Industry Insights
Sting Trailers Used to Bait Criminals, Help Fight Multi-Billion-Dollar Cargo Losses
Cargo theft is huge problem, according to the FBI, causing $15 billion to $30 billion in losses annually in the United States. To combat this issue, law enforcement and insurance companies are luring thieves with the use of sting trailers, equipped with surveillance cameras and GPS tracking devices hidden both in the trailer and the inventory they contain. These sting trailers are parked at truck stops and warehouses across America, with authorities waiting to snare thieves in the act.
For example, earlier this year, New Mexico state police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau used a trailer to try to catch thieves looting trucks along Interstate 40 in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The trailer was loaded with Bose speakers equipped with tracking devices as an extra precaution. They captured the crime when thieves arrived a few days later and took some of the cargo and put it in their own truck just east of Albuquerque. The operation led to the arrest of several suspects who had been looting trailers throughout the Southwest. In one suspect’s home, authorities discovered more than $1 million worth of stolen merchandise.
This type of crime prevention is not new, having been successfully used in breaking up crime rings and recovering stolen merchandise. Now they are being used to help fight cargo theft, particularly during the holiday season when crime is up.
The sting trailers in addition to preventing thefts provide authorities with valuable insight as to how cargo thieves operate and to help truck owners and everyone in the supply chain improve security measures. For example, authorities have seen that thieves prefer nondescript trailers that are hard to identify to those with branded designs or names on the sides. Hidden cameras have also recorded what types of locks are problematic for criminals, which has led to the installation of the highest-tech locks by trucking companies. It’s also smart if GPS tracking systems are hidden as criminals can easily locate and disable them.
It is a constant battle though, because as soon as you do away with one criminal ring typically you’ll see another group move in. Also, criminals are countering the efforts by the use of these sting trailers. According to Steve Covey, a commercial fraud investigator with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, some criminals can jam a tracking device’s signal. “They figure out what they have to defeat, so they do their homework and try something new, and maybe that will work for a while,” Covey said. “And maybe the companies will come up with something to fix that problem. It keeps mushrooming.”
Thieves are also using identity theft and bogus documents to pose as drivers for real companies to pick up trailers of goods at warehouses, according to Covey.
Roanoke Trade specializes in providing insurance solutions to provide coverage in the event of cargo theft. We also provide risk management strategies to help you minimize losses. Give our professionals a call at 1-800-ROANOKE (800-762-6653) to discuss our solutions further.
Source: Associated Press